There’s really no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to get it out there. This is a leadership post. If you are a leader, keep reading. If you aren’t, go ahead and read it, it will apply to you. If you’re not sure if you’re a leader, then you’re definitely a leader. Take a gander…
Before we begin. Let me lead you to the scripture of inspiration for this post. It’s found in Acts.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.Acts 6:1-7 NIV
This is the first step. I need you to watch closely to what is happening hear in Acts 6:1. When I read this, I see that there were lots of people, and things were going well. The church was growing, they were experiencing success in their endeavors. AND THEN PEOPLE START COMPLAINING.
How dare they?!?
I don’t know about you, but in my line of work, when I hear that people are complaining about somthing that I am leading, it quickly makes me want to crawl under a rock. And I can tend to get hung up on the complaining people. QUICKLY trying to appease them, or in the name of honesty, AVOID them, because I’m not really FINDING the problem.
A lot of us leaders do this by the way, we never really FIND the problem, because we are agitated, irritated, frustrated with, and as a result AVOIDING or SILENCING the COMPLAINERS.
We, as leaders, need to learn to TAKE THE TIME to dig a little deeper into situations before simply dismissing them as rediculous, absurd, or lacking merit. Because, behind a complaint, is often a genuine need that in meeting that need, we will experience an abundant amount of growth.
Maybe you wouldn’t categorize yourself as one of these dissmissive leaders, but don’t shut me out yet, what we find in the next few verses likely applies to you!
Reading along we find that the disciples did some digging and discussing to realize what the real problem was. There were hungry widows, and they needed to be fed. Now the other group of us leaders reading this would have already known that. They would have thoroughly investigated the situation and would have already stopped reading this blog because they are already in the kitchen making mass amounts of spaghetti to feed the multitudes. They have FOUND THE NEED.
But someone go save them from the heat of the kitchen, because they are going to end up FILLING THE WRONG PERSON’S PLATE. Some leaders feel as though problems come to them for them to handle, all by themselves, with little to no help, AND at the same time, continue to tackle the other tasks that truly, they are the only ones that can handle them.
Some of us leaders need to learn to biblically delegate. We need to learn to take the plates of others who are gifted in the areas of need, those who are standing on the sidelines, with their empty plates, watiting for an opportunity to use their God given talents. We need to find them, take their plate, and FILL IT.
This is going to freak you out, but the disciples actually DOUBLE DELEGATED. How’s that for a double serving of uncomfortability! They knew they didn’t know everyone. They knew they didn’t have time to vett each chef, waitress and bus boy. But they did know what qualities these 7 needed: men who were FULL OF THE SPIRIT and WISE. So they tasked the job to those who would know these people best. They delegated the job of finding those who would be delegated to meet the BIG need. Those who were out searching were gifted in discernment, and they were able to use this gift to help find the qualified candidates. This is biblical. And this truly shows the body WORKING TOGETHER to mend a broken piece.
Side Note: This probably took a while. This was not an immediate fix. The widows were not just eating with everyone else the next day. And one would think that this would upset people. But how neat is it that when the disciples told everyone about finding the search committee for extra kitchen help, which would likely take a few days at least, THEY WERE ALL PLEASED WITH THIS PLAN.
See, leaders, delegation is one of those paradigms of leadership. We think that the lag time or the unknowns of having someone else meet the need will cause chaos and revolt. We also tend to think that just because our plates are full, everyone else’s must be also. But that’s not reality. Just because your plate is full doesn’t mean that other’s aren’t empty. People appreciate when they are a part of the big picture. People appreciate leaders who allow others to use their gifts (because they can likely do it better than you can). People apreciate the team effort.
At first glance, one would think that this passage is about 1. hungry widows and 2. the growth of the church. Which aren’t wrong. But REALLY God is wanting to show us, as leaders (which we ALL are by the way) that through this process, the widows weren’t the ONLY ones who ended up being fed.
When the disciples looked into the complaints instead of dismissing them, they FOUND THE REAL NEED. Hungry people. Not just hungry widows. But people who were HUNGRY TO USE THEIR GIFTS and ABILITIES. And as they worked to FILL THE NEED of the widows, they were actually FULFILLING THE DESIRES of so many other’s hearts. And, because the disciples realized that delegation is an obligation of a good leader, they were able to FILL THEIR PLATES AND FEED THEIR FAITH.
And if you’re really good at reading between the lines, you have already come to the conclusion, that God has delegated a lot of things to us. But two the of the biggest things are to FIND IT and FILL IT, so that He can FEED IT.
And if you’re still not convinced that this passage is not REALLY about the widows, check out the title of the section “THE CHOOSING OF THE SEVEN.” Yeah, that means delegation.
Now that that’s settled, let’s wrap this love story up. And, with all loves stories, there has to be a happy ending. And, this one, by golly, has one. It’s not written this clearly, but I will sum it up for you in plain sight…
God was able to FEED the widows, FEED the search committee, FEED the selected kitchen crew, AND FEED the hearts of those who were added as new believers. And they ALL went to bed with FULL PLATES, FULL BELLIES, but most importantly, FULL HEARTS.
Stay Tuned for Profound Thoughts.